Dutch court rules against exploratory drilling

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A court in the southern Dutch city of Boxtel has ruled the local council should not have issued temporary permission for exploratory gas drilling.

The case was brought to court by local residents and the Rabobank, which has an important data centre near the site where the drilling was to have taken place. They argued that exploratory drilling trials are per definition not temporary, because if gas is discovered the intention is to extract it. The judge ruled in their favour. Temporary permission may only be given if the activities are due to end definitively within five years.

The British company Cuadrilla, which was planning to explore for gas in the New Year, says it will halt preparations for the project. The company thinks drilling may be delayed for a number of months and is reconsidering its plans. The local council may appeal the decision.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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